March 19, 2005

We don't know much about the donor.

We know that she was a young woman. Somehow I'm under the impression that she was a young teenager, although I could be wrong about that. We know that she was from Oregon. While I was 35,000 feet in the air last Thursday night, frantically winging my way from California to TicTac, I looked down at the lights of Portland and sent a silent prayer of gratitude and blessing to her family. 

We know that the donation of her tissue and organs saved twenty lives last week, including my mother's.

Mom is breathing with two healthy new lungs today, thanks to the uncommon generosity of the donor and her family. Her transplant surgery took place late Thursday night, March 10th. By Saturday morning her eyes were open and she was responding to simple commands.  By Sunday she was fully awake and off the respirator.  She'll be going home soon, we hope, to continue the convalescence under the loving care of her beloved companion Vince. Eventually -- with luck, and therapy, and buckets of determination -- the two of them will soon be sending us postcards from around the world, once again.

And all of this made possible due to an anonymous woman and her family.

We don't know the donor's name. We don't know what color she painted her bedroom, or who her favorite teacher was, or what she wanted to be when she grew up.  We don't know if her eyes were blue or brown ... if she preferred cats or dogs ... if she twirled her spaghetti with a fork, or if she chopped it up into little pieces and ate it with a spoon. Chances are we'll never know any of the details. But that's OK, because the important thing -- the thing that my family and I have taken away from this experience -- is knowing that not all tragedy is purposeless ... that everyone has the potential to be a hero, in ways big and small ... and that we all need to check and make sure our donor cards are signed and up to date.

I'm thinking maybe that's all we really need to know.

Deb, Mom and Secra ~ Christmas Eve 2004


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